A recap of the Seahawks’ OTA practice for May 30:
Kellen Winslow. Focus on? It was impossible not to watch the sure-handed Winslow today because he made play after play.
The former Pro Bowl tight end caught a half dozen passes during the two-hour practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center – in only his third practice with the Seahawks after being acquired in a trade last week with the Buccaneers.
His best play came during a two-minute drill, when he not only made a lunging grab of a Matt Flynn pass along the sideline but got out of bounds to stop the clock. The effort prompted linebackers coach Ken Norton to holler, “Helluva catch.”
Winslow later made another sideline grab on a pass from rookie Russell Wilson, as well as one over the middle on a pass from Tarvaris Jackson with a defender draped all over him.
“With Kellen coming in, he’s a difference-maker. He really makes things happen,” coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday night during a Town Hall meeting with fans at CenturyLink Field. “We’re going to use the heck out of him.”
But not at the expense of Zach Miller, another former Pro Bowl tight end who was added in free agency last year.
“Zach is a really good football player,” Carroll said. “He’s tough as nails. He does everything right. He knows his stuff. He has a variety of different things that he adds.”
Winslow and Miller might play the same position, but they don’t play it the same way.
“They’re totally different styles,” Carroll said. “Zach’s got his deal. Kellen’s got his deal. … We need to utilize them effectively to do those things. If we do that well and balance it out right, then they’ll be big factors for us.”
Rishaw Johnson. During his Town Hall gathering, Carroll also sang the praises of the 6-foot-3, 313-pound guard from California (Pa.) University.
“I want you to watch Rishaw Johnson, now,” Carroll said. “This guy is an exciting football player.”
Today, Johnson was working at right guard with a No. 1 line that also included left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Paul McQuistan, center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini.
How did the rookie do? “I’d say really well,” Unger said.
Johnson was at right guard with the first unit, because John Moffitt was playing center on the second and third lines. Moffitt was joined on the No. 2 line by – from left tackle to right – Alex Barron, Allen Barbre, Deuce Lutui and Paul Fanaika. The tackles on the No. 3 line were Frank Omiyale and Giacomini, while the guards were rookie J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre. James Carpenter, last year’s first-round draft choice, took part in some individual drills today as he continues his rehab from the knee injury that ended his rookie season after nine games.
It’s a group of linemen that is vastly improved, not to mention a lot deeper, from Carroll’s first season in 2010.
“The first year we were here, we could not get a seventh guy on our roster,” Carroll said. “We weren’t sure who we’d put on the roster that year of the guys that were in (training) camp.
“It’s not like that anymore. It’s a viciously competitive battle in there for who’s going to make the team, who’s going to help us. We need quality depth to last. And also, it would allow us to play more guys and not just play the front five guys. So that guys can share the playtime and share the work load and they’ll last longer.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m not sure if that story is true or not. He said it was for a period of time. What does that mean? I’m a vegan right now. I haven’t eaten in three hours.” – Unger, when asked about Lutui adopting a mostly vegan diet
A recap of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp that concluded today, May 13:
Three days in May. Make that three picture-postcard days, and three days when almost three dozen tryout players got to chase their dream of playing in the NFL.
The Seahawks wrapped up their rookie minicamp this afternoon, with another spirited practice on another gorgeous day along the shores of Lake Washington at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“For these guys to have that chance to get out here and be in the NFL for a weekend and show what they can do, they’ll never forget it,” coach Pete Carroll said. “And I think it means a ton to them.”
You could tell it meant just that, as the players sought out coaches at the conclusion of practice to shake hands and say thanks.
The team’s 10 draft choices and seven of the 10 free agents signed after the draft will join the veterans in the offseason program on Monday, and it was those players who drew most of the attention in the minicamp practices – from first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin; to third-rounder Russell Wilson, who used the minicamp to throw himself into the competition for the starting job; to seventh-rounder J.R. Sweezy, a defensive tackle in college who spent the weekend learning to play offensive guard; to wide receiver Phil Bates, one of those free-agent additions who caught pass after pass after pass.
“I can only tell you that we were thrilled with the (draft) picks,” Carroll said. “We think there’s something in every guy that’s unique and special. That we were fortunate enough to get guys in the spots that we got them and have a real plan as we look ahead where they can fit in and help us, it just feels like the next big step has been made.
“This is a first step for a lot of those guys, and for some of these guys it will be their only step. So we tried to treat these days with them with a lot respect with where their hearts are and all that.”
Carroll was especially pleased of the performance of Robert Turbin, a running back who was drafted in the fourth round. After playing in a spread offense at Utah State, Turbin made an almost seamless shift to the Seahawks’ zone-blocking scheme.
“He had an excellent camp,” Carroll said. “He has terrific speed. He has excellent feet. We were a little bit unsure of how well he would flow with the zone running game because he ran out of the (shot) gun all the time.
“He did it like he’s been doing it all along. So he showed natural instincts for the flow of the line of scrimmage.”
Turbin’s best run came Sunday, when he broke through the line on a counter play to gain 30 yards.
“He’s shown ability through the (three) days here that he can see the line of scrimmage well,” Carroll said. “He can feel it and he can burst.”
Asked which “unknown” players stood out, Carroll mentioned three:
Rishaw Johnson, a 6-3, 313-pound guard from California University in Pennsylvania and one of the free agents who was signed after the draft.
“He showed some tremendous stuff,” Carroll said. “We liked him going through the later rounds of the draft. He’s just a long ways down the road of understanding how to play the game. I think if he’ll continue to learn and understand what we’re asking of him, he has a chance to help us.”
Sweezy, the defensive tackle from North Carolina State who was drafted in the seventh round as a guard.
“The experience with J.R. was obvious that we’re on the right track,” Carroll said. “He’s very aggressive and carried over the defensive mentality that you’d hoped he would have. Tom (Cable, offensive line coach) was thrilled about what he saw from him.”
Donny Lisowsky, a 5-11, 185-pound cornerback from Montana and Seattle’s O’Dea High School, and one of the tryout players in camp.
“He was all over the place out here,” Carroll said. “I had no (idea about him), other than he ran extremely fast when he showed up for a workout day. And then he went out there and made a bunch of plays. So I was really fired up about him.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“We had a joke. I said, ‘Man, if I accidently tackle you, I’m sorry.’ ” – Sweezy, on having been a defensive tackle when Wilson also was playing at North Carolina State